How to future-proof your business by integrating your digital channels with your call centre

Natasha Walji, Javier Fernandez Saavedra / July 2020

The recent consumer pivot to digital-first behaviour has created a dramatic shift in the channel mix. Store closures and physical distancing has meant digital channels and call centres are now driving more sales across a range of industries, including the telecom, retail, auto and financial services industries.

This digital transformation also means that marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to equip call centres with digital tools, and use insights to better understand their customers and establish digital as a material sales channel.

Digital transformation — including the use of digital marketing, web analytics tools, data and AI algorithms — has accelerated in recent months. As McKinsey & Company recently wrote, “We have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.”1

Given the current context, many companies have had to focus sales activity on remote channels, specifically on online channels and call centres. The companies succeeding now are those that understand that consumers are omnichannel, and have pivoted to a digital-first approach because most buyers research online — then decide to purchase from the most convenient channel.

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In the telecom industry, research shows 80% of consumers research online before they purchase through an online channel, in-store or by making a call.2

Call centres continue to play a key role in the channel mix but the challenge is clear: how do we bridge the gap between call centres and digital platforms?

Based on our integration efforts between call centres and our digital platforms across telecom, insurance, education, auto, banking and home services, we found that digital tracking tools were the most efficient way to do this. Digital tracking tools allow companies to focus on:

  • Tracking and attribution: Marketers can measure the total impact generated by digital marketing campaigns beyond online sales, measuring the sales generated in call centres.
  • Customer insights: Companies can better understand the sentiment of the calls generated by a search on Google or other digital channels (desire to buy, dissatisfaction, desire to cancel the contract, etc.) and therefore manage the call in the most effective way.
  • Agile budget allocation: Marketers can make decisions more quickly by adapting investments in the most efficient digital marketing channel.

We've found that companies that integrated digital tracking tools into call centres saw significant improvements in their digital sales and conversion rates.

Here are five ways you can use digital to power your company’s call centre and gain valuable customer insights for your marketing team.

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Let people choose how they want to interact with you

If a consumer sets up a call, it’s because they need your help. Right now, 75% of Canadian consumers expect businesses to allow them to easily communicate with them, and get a timely response.3 Enable features like “click-to-call” and “call me back” on all digital assets, like digital ads, landing pages and websites. One in 4 search users said they used click-to-call when searching for information online.4

Integrate digital call tracking systems with your online platforms

They will enable you to attribute each call and each sale made in the call centre to the digital campaign that it originated from, and therefore correctly measure the return on ad sales (ROAS) to have digital marketing operate as a sales channel.

Personalize your customer experience

Route calls to the most convenient call centres using the digital signals you have (for example, if the Google search “cancel contract” generates a call, you can route it to the Churn mitigation contact centre).

Expand your concept of digital sales

The mindset by which the online channel should generate only-online sales (automated) is outdated. The online channel right now is your main touchpoint of relationship with your clients and can be the quarterback that distributes traffic and sales to the rest of the channels.

Reposition marketing from a cost centre to a profitable growth driver

Marketing positioned as a cost centre results in minimizing cost, however, there is opportunity to reposition marketing with the C-Suite as a growth driver by focusing on maximizing revenue and profit. In addition, keeping marketing budgets agile ensures that real time digital insights reward channels maximizing profitable sales.

We are living in unprecedented times and the consumer behaviours we’re seeing are unlikely to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. Companies must make bold progress in integrating online channels with offline channels to future proof their business. It may seem like a big challenge to some, but digital tools can help companies to start small, prove business impact and then scale.

How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey